Milwaukee Brewers: Is the market for relief pitching too expensive?

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 03: Corey Knebel
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 03: Corey Knebel /

Brewers fans were sitting at home watching their phones and waiting for the notification that begins with ‘Milwaukee Brewers to sign’, or ‘Milwaukee Brewers to acquire’.  Sadly, all fans came away with after the Winter Meetings were hopeful quotes from GM David Stearns.

One trend that seems to be getting under the skin of Milwaukee Brewers fans is the fact the team hasn’t inked any free agent relievers to a contract. Fans have seen some pretty good talent get taken off of the board in past few days.

For example, Pat Neshek signed a two-year deal worth , $16.25 million with Philadelphia. Tommy Hunter also signed for two years, but managed to get $18 million from Philadelphia.

Jake Mcgee and Bryan Shaw both signed for three years and $27 million with Colorado.

Luke Gregerson got two years and $11 million from St. Louis.

These are the pitchers who have been consistent throughout their careers.  As you can see most, if not all, of these pitchers have earned their shiny new deals.

Now let’s take a look at some of the contracts that other relievers received.

Brandon Morrow got a two-year contract worth $21 million with the Chicago Cubs.

Mike Minor signed a 3-year deal worth $28 million with the Texas Rangers

Anthony Swarzak received two years and $14 million from the New York Mets.

Why are relievers making so much?

The biggest reason is the high demand that a good reliever or closer would fetch in a trade. We saw this a couple seasons ago when the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman and the Indians acquired Andrew Miller.  Both required insane prices.

Chapman was acquired for the Cubs number one overall prospect Gleyber Torres along with Billy McKinney, Adam Warren, and Rashad Crawford.

Miller was acquired for a similar price. Cleveland shelled out their number one overall prospect, Clint Frazier along wit Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller, and J.P. Feyeriesen. Those are both major hauls for just two closers.

Could the reason teams are handing out such massive contracts to these players be that the price of relievers in trades is astronomically expensive?

How are the Brewers shaping up right now?

It is smart to just spend cash than actual talent. If you look at the bullpen situation the Milwaukee Brewers face.  They will go into 2018 with Corey Knebel at closer. Josh Hader will have a long relief role. Jacob Barnes and Jeremy Jeffress should handle set up roles with ease.

Those are four solid arms right there.  Why should the Milwaukee Brewers spend upwards of $15 million on a need that is not dire at the moment? They can take that money and spend it on a starting pitcher that could get them into the playoffs in 2018.

Next: Could Mauricio Dubon start at 2B?

Would you be satisfied if the Milwaukee Brewers spent big on one of the few remaining free agent relievers?  Or would you prefer they keep the money to spend on a bigger need? Starting pitching is clearly the priority. The Brewers could add a few arms to the bullpen, but they’re not going to over pay for a top reliever at this point.